How To Get Over The Regret Of Missed Opportunities — 10 Tips That Work

How To Get Over The Regret Of Missed Opportunities — 10 Tips That Work

The longer you live, the more regrets you risk notching up. It’s all part of being human. One of the most painful types of regrets is missed opportunities. Ahh, the “coulda, shoulda, woulda” trap! Some of these regrets can hurt real bad, but why are you carrying them around, turning them into unfashionable luggage that’s way too heavy to bring on all your adventures? If they’re causing you sleepless nights and negative thoughts, it’s time to eliminate them. Here are 10 ways to get over the regret of missed opportunities.

1. Realize Not Every Opportunity Is Meant To Be Taken.

Here’s a hot take: just because you had the opportunity to do something that seemed amazing, it doesn’t mean that it was the right thing for you. Maybe you could’ve nabbed your dream job in another country and you didn’t take the opportunity so you’re kicking yourself now. But at the time, you chose not to take it, for whatever reason. It wasn’t meant to be a part of your story, and that’s okay.

2. Give It Time To Reveal Its Positive Lesson.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a firm believer in good reasons for things showing up after the fact. Sometimes you think you’re going to feel miserable forever because you didn’t take the opportunity to travel or to date your friend (who’s now happily married to someone else, BTW). But there comes a time when you look back and realize it was for the best. Stay positive about your future – it’s going to be bright!

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4. Forgive Yourself For What You Consider A Mistake.

If you’re always beating yourself up about missed opportunities, you’re not going to get anywhere. Stop obsessing about what you consider to be your failures and forgive yourself for them. You were a different person or in a different state of mind at the time when the opportunity arose. It’s unfair for you to beat up that person who was just trying to do her best.

5. Let The Experience Make You Stronger.

When faced with painful regret, a constructive thing to do is ask yourself how it can make you stronger. Okay, okay, this sounds trite, but it’s true. Like, maybe you’ll be braver to take opportunities in the future or you won’t allow people to stand in your way. Whatever the case, there’s always something to learn from the opportunities you didn’t take instead of allowing them to turn you bitter.

6. See It As Saving Grace.

Another thing I like to think when faced with a missed opportunity is that sometimes “bad” things happen but they’re blessings in disguise. Maybe taking the job offer in Paris would’ve resulted in you being homesick and miserable. Who needs that? Maybe moving in with your ex-BF would’ve made you miss out on other, more satisfying experiences in life. Life can be mysterious, but trust in its process.

7. Expect Bigger And Better Opportunities.

Sometimes, it’s easy to think that we get one or two big opportunities in life and we have to take them or else we’ll never be happy. What crap. We create opportunities in our lives by being positive and chasing our wildest dreams. So, there can be tons of other opportunities for you to take – and they might even be better than what you think you’ve lost.

8. Ask Yourself If It Will Matter In Five Years.

Most things we stress about are things that won’t matter at all within the next five years. Heck, sometimes they don’t even matter now. It can be helpful to imagine your life in the next few years and get some perspective on your future in this way. Things move on and change, so why keep yourself stuck to one moment in time? One thing doesn’t define you, so let it go!

9. Avoid People Who Bring You Down For Your Choices.

If people around you keep reminding you of your missed opportunity or tell you that you made a mistake, you don’t need their negativity in your life. Seriously. Surround yourself with people who keep you upbeat and positive. It’ll do you a world of good. It’s also worth remembering that no one is on your journey except you. No one goes home at night and thinks about what they consider to be your bad choices, and if they do, they’ve got to GAL!

10. Stick Up For Yourself.

Here’s another hot take: sometimes the best thing you can do is remember to stand up for yourself no matter what. Yes, you turned down an amazing opportunity and you regret it. But you made those choices and you’re going to stick up for them because you can’t live life in reverse. It’s empowering to stand up for yourself. If you don’t, you can’t expect anyone else to.

11. Use Regret To Regroup.

A cool thing you can do with regret is to use it to regroup with yourself about your goals, values, and what you want your life to look like. The answers might surprise you! The regret could open your eyes to new goals you’d love to pursue or places you’d enjoy visiting. Now you’re in the position to use the regret as a springboard into those experiences. Nice one!

Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.